Sunday, March 04, 2007

How about them apples?

Michigan Football is a tradition rich program. Some traditions, such as the pre-game ritual of the team leaping up and touching the GO BLUE banner, are well known. Other traditions are as long-standing but are less well known. One of the lesser known traditions is being perpetuated by one of Michigan football's most famous players-Ron Kramer. Kramer (1954-1956) was a nine-time letterman earning three letters each in football, basketball and track. He was a two-time consensus All-American in football and his football jersey number (87) was retired after his senior season. His jersey number is one of only five to ever be retired by the Wolverines.

When Kramer was a player in the 1950's, a man named Mr. Chestnut would visit the Michigan Athletic Department each week during the football season with bushels of apples and he would distribute the apples to the staff and players. The practice now lives on through Michigan legend Mr. Kramer who brings three bushels of Michigan apples to the football facility at Schembechler Hall every Wednesday during the season. Kramer rekindled this tradition many years ago while Bo Schembechler was the Head Coach and Kramer has kept it up every season since that time. At the 2006 M Football Bust, Coach Carr noted Kramer's continuation of the apple giving tradition and he praised the ongoing contributions of the Michigan legend to the Football program. Additionally, Kramer was named the 2004 Ufer Award Winner presented at the M Club's Past President's Dinner to an individual for his or her outstanding service to the University of Michigan Athletic Program. Go Blue!

*Note: Sports Illustrated cover photo (11/12/56 issue) of Ron Kramer and Tom Maentz taken by John G. Zimmerman.

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